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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Data Access Category

If you were building a business intelligence tool from scratch today, in 2007, you would probably develop it as an enterprise search tool with user access capabilities that accommodate English-like approaches to query. And, indeed, that seems to be the horizon of a different set of tools such as those by Fast, Coppereye and Endeca, all of which appear to tolerate the DBMS, but also are poised to access information in disparate places. You may or may not consider these as BI vendors, but I suggest they are.

Bigger BI players will be adopting enterprise search as a means to extend their footprint in shops and spur new activity in existing clients. I think it will pull more people into active usage of information, but it will largely end up as cannibalization for the bigger vendors - a necessary and costly shift to keep the customer base.

“BI for the masses” as a concept will not mean interactive OLAP capabilities for broad audiences in any organization. Rather, it means the benefits of BI and interactive access will extend to the functions performed by all in an organization. It also means a wider deployment of information consumption.

Do you agree? Will we see a shift in how information is accessed?

Technorati tags: Business Intelligence, Enterprise Search

Posted August 17, 2007 2:40 PM
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I always enjoy the well-researched OLAP Report that Nigel Pendse does annually. The report for 2005 is out (link.) The market continues to grow (close to $6M the way Nigel measures it, which he explains on the site.) The trajectories of the top 5 and top 10 vendors has been flat the last 2 years, but remains around 95% (top 10) and 75% (top 5). This is not a space letting in many new vendors to the big time.

Over the last several years, there has been nice upward slopes for Microsoft and downward slopes for Hyperion (which remains #2) and Oracle. I expect the latest release for Oracle to turn that slope somewhat in 2006.

Posted March 7, 2006 9:53 AM
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A recent study by InformationWeek confirms that ease-of-use is still most important when purchasing BI software or selecting a vendor. This is well worth repeating since I still see many BI professionals, myself included at times, that get lulled into believing that modern data access tools are indeed "user friendly" to actual users.

Accoutrements to the development of the end user interface include training, metadata and data stewardship as well as effective usage design.

One company that brings us a new paradigm in data access for applications with a visual orientation is Tableau Software.

Tableau Software displays query results visually and graphically as opposed to displaying the actual results. This helps a user skip the step in his or her head that translate those numbers and text into something meaningful. It's a step where thoughts don't often complete and thought processes are abandoned. It could be useful for certain situations. You can take a product tour at their site.

Keep an eye on the real ease of use of your BI interface. The ones who make the final determination will be the users.

Posted September 12, 2005 8:14 AM
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